The popularity of gourmet mushrooms is continuing to grow. Over a million and a half pounds were grown just last year in the United States. Because of this increasing demand, new growers can succeed with exotics, such as oyster & shiitake mushrooms. It's fairly easy too. Here's how you could make $60,000 a year growing oyster mushrooms:
Oyster mushrooms, a type of gourmet mushroom, are one of the most profitable gourmet mushroom available. In addition to the high demand for them, growing them is pretty simple. Because they grow so rapidly, you can grow about five crops a year, so it's possible to make a big profit fairly quickly. Best of all, you can do this in your spare time. If you have a few hours to spare a week, then you can grow a profitable crop.
So let's do the math. If you have a 500 square foot growing area, in a year that can produce about 12,000 pounds of mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms retail for $6 a pound. 12,000 pounds of mushrooms at $6 a pound could make you $72,000 in a year's time. Simply put, growing gourmet mushrooms for profit can be a way to make a nice extra income, or can even be a new career.
To grow a bumper crop, oyster mushrooms need a growing room where you can control the temperature, the humidity and the light. This allows you to regulate all three to meet the needs of the growing mushrooms at various times in the growing cycle.
One of the keys to having a successful mushroom-growing business is cleanliness. There are many things that could potentially contaminate your mushrooms, but if you take special care, your mushrooms can grow up healthy and tasty. So what do you need to do? First, pasteurizing your straw growing medium will remove possible threats of contamination. When you're ready to spread out your straw to cool down, take special care to wipe down and disinfect the surface using a 10% bleach solution. And finally, remember to always wash your hands thoroughly before handling any items, such as your spawn or substrate. Healthy gourmet mushrooms will get you top dollar at market.
When your gourmet mushrooms are ready to harvest, try to sell them as soon as possible. Fresh mushrooms will sell the best. If you're unable to sell your entire supply soon, you can freeze or dry them to sell at a later date. For the mushrooms you're ready to sell now, try any or all of these three options:
1. Farmers' markets – If you've been to one of these, you know how they can draw big crowds. Attendees are eager to find the best local produce from the best local growers. That could be you. Set up a booth or stand and get selling.
2. Restaurants – If you're like a lot of people, you love tasting delicious fresh mushrooms when you go out to a restaurant. Restaurants have to get those mushrooms from somewhere, so why not you? Hand out free samples to chefs at local restaurants, and they just might be interested in your gourmet mushrooms.
3. Grocery stores – More and more grocery stores are stocking gourmet mushrooms. Many buy their mushrooms from out-of-state distributors. If your gourmet mushrooms are fresh, healthy and delicious, then you could see a lot of business coming your way.
You could make over $60,000 a year growing gourmet mushrooms for profit. If you have a few hours a week to spare, and you have a growing area where you can control the temperature, humidity and light, then you can be a successful grower. Make sure your mushrooms are growing up healthy, and that you're selling them at the right places, and you'll be on your way to success. To learn more about how to grow and market oyster mushrooms, read Mushroom Growing 4 You, available here http://www.freecycleusa.com/grow-mushrooms
Craig Wallin is the author of 8 books about growing high-value specialty crops, such as herbs, flowers, garlic, mushrooms, ginseng, bamboo, lavender, exotic trees, woody ornamentals, microgreens and landscaping plants.